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Learning how to lead in a new marriage is hard. Trust me. I’ve got the scratches to prove it!

“WILL!! YOU’RE PUSHING ME UNDER A TREE!!!”

It was at this moment I realized my husband and I should not have gotten in the same canoe on this family trip.

You see, my husband (the most laid-back, easy-going guy ever) and I (an admittedly fiery redhead) had only been married 3 months when my family decided to go on a canoeing adventure over the 4th of July weekend.

Since we both love the great outdoors, neither of us thought it would be a problem! That is until I was pinned under a fallen tree while my kind, loving husband was steering us in the back of this two-person boat.

As I saw three spiders crawl onto my legs and felt my arm scratch up against the branches, I quickly pushed us away from the tree while he fervently apologized to me for not paying attention to where he was steering us. But it was a little late in my book. At this point, I had brushed off the spiders, tended to the scratches on my arm, and built up a wall of disappointment and anger against him.

I thought to myself, “This would be going so much better if I was the one in the back steering us. Why can’t he see that too and offer up his seat??”

Yikes.

You might be thinking something along the same lines about your relationship, too. Whether you’ve had a moment when your spouse pushed you under a tree (literally or figuratively), or maybe you’ve been feeling unsure about your role as a spouse. When should you be the one steering? When should you follow your spouse’s lead? I’ve got a few words for you.

First of all, know that there are times for both spouses to lead! After going a little further down the river, I realized how wrong I was to think that I should be the one steering the two of us. If it were me in the back, my competitive nature would have paddled us straight to the finish line with little to no time to stop and look at the scenery, play around and splash each other with our paddles, or talk with family in the boats around us. But since he was the one leading us, I was able to enjoy myself (outside of the whole tree thing) and embrace a moment where “winning” didn’t matter.

This was his moment to lead, even if he did mess up a little.

It’s also good to see that each spouse should lead in the ways that they are strongest. Will and I have decided that when it comes to caring for things, from plants to animals, or handling the finances and budget, that’s on me. But with planning get-togethers and deciding what we’ll eat throughout the week, he’s totally got those. My husband and I both recognize each other’s strengths and our own needs, so we can lead each other to be better versions of ourselves. And that really is the key.

SO! That being said, here are just a few questions and tips for you and your spouse to look over together and decide how you both can lead in the best ways possible.

  • Ask yourself, “Where are areas that I know I’m lacking something (whether that’s a skill, a way of thinking, etc.)? Can my spouse help fulfill that need in our relationship?
  • When my spouse is leading us, do I ever feel any resentment toward them? In what ways?
  • Define each of your roles in your marriage and decide who gets to lead what/when.
  • Once you’ve set boundaries around leading in certain areas, DO NOT overstep those guidelines! Trust your spouse to do it well and to do it their way.
  • Do your best to gain a little humility. Ask your spouse to lead in ways you know you can’t (or shouldn’t).

Learning how to lead in a new marriage is hard. I promise there will be times you will accidentally pin your spouse under a tree, steer you both in the wrong direction, or maybe sink the boat altogether. But the key to a successful relationship is understanding that, as a team, it’s going to take some time to grow together, communicate strongly, and lead each other well. Thank goodness you get to figure it out together, spiders, scratches, and all.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

What happens when the one you love isn’t your dream guy? Well, there might be The One, but then there’s also the one you actually marry.

“The One” is where things are going really great, you’re into him, and he seems to check a lot of the boxes. He’s cute, your heart races when you see him, and you get butterflies being around him. You think, “This is it, right?” This is the fun and exciting, sweep-you-off-your-feet, true love that you see in the movies. It’s finally happening to you!!

But then it ends.

He didn’t choose you, or you decided not to choose him.

A little back story – my boyfriend is tall with dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He smart, athletic, and hard-working. He dresses a little outdoorsy and preppy- absolutely no hipster or granola (which I thought would be a quality of my dream guy). I can’t even get him to try on joggers. What matters most is his amazing character and his heart- but we’ll get to that later. 

So I transferred to Andrew’s college in the middle of my junior year. Even though I told myself that I would never follow a boy to school, the move was better for ME. (Whether Andrew was there or not, that decision was what was best and healthiest for my life.)

When Andrew graduated, (a year before I did), he moved to Greenville, got a big boy job, and decided to live at home with his parents to save money. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m thinking about where I want to be. I’ve considered all the paths I can take & thought about the ones I truly want. I have always loved the thought of moving somewhere far away, whether it’s Vancouver or India, but I know that no matter where I went or what I did, it wouldn’t change anything between Andrew and me, because what we want is each other.

So, we have talked about a plan. We’ve known we want to marry each other for a while, but we both have talked about how we’re not ready to get married yet. We want to work and live on our own after college, because we think we’re young and still have some growing to do when it comes to responsibility and maturity. He’s saving money for a ring, we’re both saving because we want to get a house when we get married and we have no money to our names.

We’ve talked about things. We’ve communicated our goals and what we want. And, most importantly, we’re on the same page.

We are best friends. We can trust each other, we have the same purpose and goals in life and want to be teammates in pursuing those goals, work well together and balance each other. Love and forgiveness is at the core of our relationship, even when it’s hard and when the other person messes up. We’re together because Andrew sees my heart and that’s what he wants to be with, and I see his amazing heart and I’m so lucky to have found it. He is one of the best people I have ever met. 

His character is incredible and amazing, which is more important than if he wears joggers or not. You get to figure out what are deal-breakers and what are not.

Andrew does not have the personality I would have chosen; we are complete opposites and don’t understand each other easily. He is not what I imagined my dream guy would be, but I love him. It took and still takes a lot of communication and work. But I have learned to love and appreciate, and even sometimes need, his differences. Who Andrew is as a person and will be as a husband and father one day, is a deal-maker over and over again.

Our love is so much better and even more romantic than the movies, because it is real. Andrew has shown me love in deeper ways than Hollywood movies do or what I imagined in my daydreams. We’ve loved each other even when it’s hard, which makes our relationship even better and stronger.

I’m glad it’s not perfect. The One isn’t Prince Charming where the stars align and you see the signs and everything is right – it’s the one you choose to marry because you see who they are and they see you and both of you are excited about doing this life together. That’s why it will seem right.

I do not have to be with Andrew. I really don’t have to be. If I were on my own, I would be doing the same things. I would be who I am. I would want what I want. I’m not with Andrew because I’m afraid to be single. (I actually sometimes think it’s easier to be single, because relationships take work and it’s easier to get away with being selfish when you’re single.)

I’m not with Andrew because I’m afraid I won’t find anybody else. I know what’s best for me, I know what’s healthy, I know Andrew and I are a really good thing. I’m glad he’s in my life and he’s the person I’ve created a relationship with. We didn’t have to, but we chose to because we love what we see in the other person and life is fun to do together. 

And that’s the difference between the one you love and your dream guy.

Looking for more relationship resources? Click here!

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Okayyyyy ladies… Let’s talk about dating & The One. Does The One actually exist?

You probably grew up believing that one perfect person exists who you had to fall in love with and marry. They are our Soulmate, aka, The One.  And there is this fear that we won’t end up with the one we’re supposed to end up with, so we take this mentality into the dating game and freak out about making sure we pick the right one.

And that’s exactly what I did. I went on a quest to find my Soulmate, the guy that was exactly right for me, have a perfect love, and live happily ever after. Seriously.

I always dreamed that the guy I would end up with or The One would be a tall athletic guy with blonde hair and blue eyes. He would be outgoing, adventurous, and into photography and traveling like me. He would want to live in different countries and live a non-traditional lifestyle and dress like an outdoorsy, granola hipster.

The One can understand all my emotions, read my mind, and know exactly what I am thinking, and I dont even have to say a word. He would do and say all the right things because he was, The One. Duh.

When this didn’t happen…and it didn’t, I would FREAK. OUT.

When Andrew and I first started dating, I freaked out all the time. “OMG, should I stay with him? Or should I date someone more outgoing, or someone that talks more, or someone who does photography too?” (All valid considerations.) I was like “Ugh, is this right? I don’t know…”

But then I started to rethink The One. I noticed it in the little things and I realized it in the important things, that I could really see myself being with him. Instead of figuring out who I’m supposed to be with, I get to choose who I want to be with. I know he is The One because he has become my person. I would like him to be mine for a long time. (But I won’t say he is The One out loud until we are engaged.)

I expected that when I met The One, I would know, and he would know, and that it was meant to be. We had found the one we had been looking for and it happened easily, obviously, and “just like that.”  So I tried to look for all the signs to figure out if this was the guy I had been looking for- The One that was the right one, that I’m supposed to marry, oh, and he knew I was The One, too.

LOL, OK.

Andrew may not fit all the qualities as the one to find by destiny. I instantly knew he could not achieve perfection. But check it out– He is the one that I got to know and build a relationship with. He is the one I want to choose to love and grow a life with. So it never started with, “Yes, he’s The One I’m supposed to stay with.” It was “Yeah, we like this and work to make it work and it’s good.”

There’s a big difference between those two mindsets. Dating isn’t about finding The One; the trick is to find the one who you can make it grow with.

Looking for more relationship resources? Click here!

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It was my 12th birthday, and I was (in my mind) an aspiring guitar-playing rock star. All I lacked was the right equipment. You see, all of the ultra-talented hair bands of the time had huge stacks of black-boxed amplifier speakers that blasted their gnarly guitar solos.

So, I made it perfectly clear to my parents. For my birthday, I needed a guitar amplifier so that I could be a rock star. 

On the big day, my parents presented me with a smallish wrapped box. As I unwrapped the gift, disappointment ensued. Indeed, it was a guitar amplifier – one that could almost fit inside my shoe, battery-operated, and just a little bigger than my Walkman tape player. When hooked up to my guitar, it barely made a sound louder than the actual guitar itself. And made of red plastic. I never saw a rock star on stage with anything made of red plastic. Talk about expectation frustration. 

I can now see the problem in hindsight. My expectations weren’t clear enough. I told my parents I wanted a guitar amplifier, but I wrongfully assumed they knew exactly what I meant. I mean, it’s not like they knew anything about being a guitar superstar like me. Ultimately, it was an unspoken expectation.

Imagine how this can happen in a marriage! 

One spouse expects the other to cook dinner every evening. One expects the other to spend time with the kids on the weekends. One expects sex four times a week. The other expects regular time together talking about each other’s day after work. But nothing ever said out loud. 

And then, when dinner isn’t ready, the kids are left to entertain themselves all weekend, the daily conversations don’t happen and sex is not happening nearly often enough, expectation frustration takes over the relationship.

We all have expectations for our relationships. Expectations are good in the fact that they are formed in the hope for something good to happen. When we expect something to come out of a certain situation, like our marriage, normally it’s in the hope that some sort of value is created.

But expectation frustration happens when we assume that our spouse somehow knows what we want without us telling him or her. There are times when I think my wife should know exactly what I expect because we both want a good, healthy marriage. And if she wants a good, healthy marriage just like I do, isn’t it just common sense that her expectations should line up with mine? 

See the problem here?

It’s perfectly normal – and OK – that two people have different expectations for achieving the same goal of a healthy marriage. The main thing is that these expectations don’t go unspoken. It shouldn’t be assumed that our spouse is thinking the same thing we are. And so a healthy, safe space needs created in the relationship to regularly communicate what we hope and expect from each other.

Trying to share your hopes in an unsafe space is like, well, two large guitar amplifiers blaring incoherent sounds toward each other. You get nothing but noise that can’t be heard. A safe environment, however, creates the space for a couple to experience harmony.  Each person approaches the conversation with a spirit of listening to understand rather than getting what they want. No value judgments are put upon the other person’s expectations; rather, their opinion is affirmed, even if it’s not necessarily agreed with.

The goal of a safe space for communicating expectations is that these opinions can be shared with the idea of reaching common ground. 

The magical part of this is that, when both people feel they can safely communicate expectations, they often find just how much their goals for their relationship are in line with each other. When my wife and I sit down and calmly talk about what we hope from each other, I hear her heart for our marriage rather than her expectations overriding mine. And she hears the same thing from me.

Unspoken expectations are like an acid that has a corrosive effect on the relationship – they slowly eat away at the common goal for a healthy marriage. Take the time to create that safe space and talk about your hopes and dreams for your relationship. 

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

Looking for more marriage resources? Click here!

Read this next:

What If My Spouse Doesn’t Make Me Happy?

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How to Know Whether We Should Get Engaged or Not

Considering these things can help you make a choice that's good for you.

Am I ready to be married… to this guy?

Should I take the next step of marriage with her?

Am I sure? Is he ready?

We get along well, but his career isn’t off the ground yet.

She and I have so much fun together. But she isn’t sure if she wants to live in the city or the suburbs.

I believe that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. But the rest of my life may be a long time.

How can I make the perfect decision at the perfect time about the perfect person so that I may have a perfect life?

I get it. Deciding to get engaged or not is huge.

No, it’s not marriage, but it’s a major (and I mean major) step in that direction. Often, there’s a ring, engagement parties, questions about a timeline, etc. The news is blasted on social media. Everyone is celebrating that THE RIGHT PERSON has been found. 

And after all that, other things follow… questions, judgments, self-doubts, uncertainty, and the risk of humiliation and failure.

Questions like, “What if I’m not ready? What if I don’t know my partner well enough? What if there’s still more within me that I need to work out?” 

These are all valid questions! But I’m not sure they’re the only questions you’ll want to be asking.

Approaching engagement and marriage from the perspective of making the right choice RISK-FREE may set you up for disappointment. And trying to check all the boxes on your never-ending personal and relational checklist might leave you marriage-less.

There’s no exhaustive list to foolproof your engagement decision. But as a married man who’s also a premarital education facilitator/coach, I can offer you some things to think about…

Consider these things:

Do you feel genuinely safe with this person?

Can you be your whole emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical self with them? Are you able to be vulnerable? Or do you hold back because you’re not sure how they’ll react? Does your prospective spouse walk with you through your emotions to help you grow as an individual? Are you a better person because of this relationship?

Is this someone you want to learn how to do life with?

Notice, I didn’t ask if this is someone you can do life with. Is he or she bringing a healthy version of themselves into the relationship? If so, you’re both more likely to learn how to navigate through all life’s ups, downs, successes and failures. You have no idea what the future holds. But while you’re dating, you can see how your prospective spouse handles life’s challenges. Is selfishness an issue? Do you value one another’s thoughts, feelings and wants? How do you handle the unexpected as a couple?

Are we both ready to help one another be our best selves? 

If you’re looking for marriage to complete you, then once again, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. But if you love this person so much that you want to bring all of yourself into a marriage to love, support, and encourage them, then you may be in a good place. Are you ready for THAT? Are you secure enough to not lose yourself in that journey?

Don’t try to find these answers alone. 

Talk to healthy married couples and close family. Discuss these things with your best friends and with the one you’re thinking about getting engaged to. Don’t necessarily look to them for answers. Instead, let them help you talk through your thoughts, fears, and emotions.

There’s nothing wrong with premarital education BEFORE GETTING ENGAGED. 

I know many who appreciated doing marriage prep before they made a decision. It prevented a lot of embarrassment from calling off an engagement after realizing that this wasn’t the person they wanted to marry. No rule says you can’t have these conversations before getting engaged. And if you have these conversations before you take that next big step, you’re more likely to enjoy the journey and be at peace with your decisions.

Looking for more engagement resources? Click here!

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Build an Unbreakable Marriage Right from the Start! 

(And get a discount* on your marriage license at the same time!)

Preparing for Marriage is an online course that will guide you and your bae on a journey to build a solid foundation for your marriage! From communication to intimacy, conflict to in-laws, we unpack 8 fun and fast-paced lessons in short videos that will provide you with all the essential tools to create a thriving marriage.

Plus you’ll have access to healthy relationship experts, Reggie & Lauren, by email every step of the way to answer any questions or just give you a little encouragement!


*Must live in a qualifying state where a discount is offered on your marriage license for completing premarital education or counseling.

Dating after divorce or death can be complicated, especially if children are involved. As people navigate the world of dating and blending families, they’ve asked Ron Deal, stepfamily expert and author of Dating and the Single Parent, the following questions plenty of times: How soon is too soon to start dating? Should I introduce this person to my children?

“On the topic of blended families, someone once said, ‘People marry and form a blended family because they fell in love with a person, but they divorce because they don’t know how to be a family,’” says Deal. 

Deal believes the key to dating as a single parent is to include the children in the bigger picture.

“Certainly, it depends on the age of the children,” Deal shares. “A younger child is more open to new adults in their life, but you don’t want to introduce your 4-year-old to a person that you just started dating. You don’t even know whether you like this person. Wait until you think this relationship really has a chance of going somewhere, then you bring them into the picture with intentionality.”

For older children, elementary and beyond, Deal suggests talking with them about it first. Ask, “What if I started dating? How would you feel about that?” This way, you are putting it on their radar that this might happen. 

“Once you know that the relationship has potential, it is important to create opportunities for everybody to be together and for additional conversations to take place,” Deal says.

Deal strongly encourages couples to discuss a few things before deciding to move forward with marriage, though.

Some couples decide to test the waters with the two families by living together first. This creates ambiguity for the children. When children experience this uncertainty, it creates chaos and empowers resistance. If they don’t like the idea of the families coming together, the ambiguity leads them to believe they could make the whole thing unravel. 

Deal believes, more than anything, a stepfamily needs two adults who have clarity about their relationship and the family’s future. By having conversations ahead of time, you are valuing the “we,” and then the children. If you can’t come to an agreement on your parenting styles, that’s serious. Deal believes it’s just as serious as marrying someone with addiction issues. The outcome of these discussions should be part of the equation as to whether or not you plan to marry.

“At least half to two-thirds of dating couples don’t have serious conversations about how they are going to parent when they bring their two families together,” Deal says. “If your parenting styles are vastly different, this can be a dealbreaker.”

In many instances, one parent has been making all the decisions for the children. Now add a second adult into the mix who isn’t their biological parent. What will you do when your child asks to do something and your answer would typically be yes, but your new spouse doesn’t agree with that?

There’s no question that negotiating parenting and romance all at the same time is complicated. You have to manage the complex moving parts for sure. But Deal believes that if you’re going to make a mistake as a blended family couple, err on the side of protecting your marriage.

“The goal here is to protect your marriage, which is why it is so important to talk about these things prior to getting married,” Deal asserts. “Biological parents have an ultimate responsibility to and for their children, but if you make a parenting decision without consulting your spouse, it isn’t helpful to your marriage. The goal is to co-create your parenting response. You cannot have two different answers for two different sets of kids. That unravels your “us-ness” as a couple.

“It typically takes four to seven years for a stepfamily to find their rhythm,” Deal adds. “There is no rushing it. You can’t will it into being. There are certain aspects of your family that will merge faster than others. Even in the midst of figuring out how to make it work, your marriage can be thriving.”

Looking for more? Check out this article of JulieB TV on this topic!

Over the last two decades there has been a steady increase in the number of couples choosing to move in together before marriage, and many of them expect to make a commitment to each other. The catch is that a large number of them decide not to marry. The nagging question becomes, does marriage really make a difference in relationship quality over time? 

The Census Bureau reports that the percentage of cohabiting adults ages 25 to 34 increased from 12 percent a decade ago to 15 percent in 2018. Among 25- to 34- year-olds, living together has become commonplace. Among currently-married adults, a whopping 67 percent say they have lived with either their current partner or someone else before they tied the knot. In 1978, however, marriage was more common, with 59 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds married compared to only 30 percent today. 

With the dramatic increase in couples who live together, one might believe that cohabitation is becoming more like marriage (or at least a step toward it). If you think that, you aren’t alone. 

Plenty of researchers across the globe have surmised that over time, cohabitation would become more like marriage. Interestingly though, the latest research indicates that might not be the case.

Researchers from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and The Wheatley Institution at Brigham Young University analyzed the results of a December 2018 YouGov “iFidelity Survey” of 2000 American adults. The data continues to confirm key differences in marriage and cohabiting relationships. They even found categorical differences between marriage and cohabitation on three relationship factors in particular.

First, married men and women are more likely than couples who live together to report satisfaction with their relationship.

After controlling for education, relationship duration and age, married women (54 percent) and married men (49 percent) were more likely to report being “very happy” in their relationship compared to cohabiting adults.

Second, married adults are more likely to report higher levels of relationship commitment. 

Forty-six percent of married men and women were in the top relationship commitment group. Whereas just over 30 percent of cohabiting partners were in the top group. This finding is consistent with other research that links cohabiting relationships with lower commitment levels.

Third, married adults proved more likely to report higher levels of relationship stability than those who live together.

When asked how likely respondents thought their relationship would continue, 54 percent of married adults were in the top perceived relationship stability group. That is compared to only 28 percent of cohabiting adults. 

Married relationships are much less likely to break up than cohabiting ones. Even in places like Europe where cohabitation has long been an accepted practice, studies consistently show that married couples experience more stability than couples who live together.

Marriage has many other benefits for men, women and children in addition to commitment, satisfaction and stability. There’s plenty of research to prove it. Adults may be looking for financial benefits, better physical and emotional health, longevity or a more satisfying sex life. The evidence shows that marriage offers some things that cohabitation does not. 

Most people are looking for a committed, highly-satisfying and stable relationship. But the research strongly indicates that cohabitation is likely not the best route. Before you decide to move in together, do your homework. Decide if that road will take you where you want to go.  

This article originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press on February 24, 2019.

Looking for more resources? Watch this episode of JulieB TV for an in-depth look on this topic!

“Money, money, money. That’s all we seem to argue about.”

“She spends too much money at the grocery store on stuff we don’t need.”

“He always wants to eat out.”

“She’s always buying new clothes.”

“We’re not buying the furniture he wants. It costs too much.”

“He won’t let me loan my sister a few ($500) dollars.”

“She should get a better job.”

“He should get a better job.”

Countless marriage experts have documented that one of the top reasons couples give for divorce is – you guessed it – fighting about money. If that’s the case, why is the world’s richest couple, Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of Amazon) and his wife, getting a divorce when they have all that money?

I’ve noticed in my 14 years of marriage that although we have had countless discussions, arguments and conflicts about money, wait for it… the issue isn’t really money.  But if it’s not, then why do we fight about money so much? And why do we think it’s about money?

First, let’s recognize that every couple is different and there is no blanket answer. However, we know that our spending habits often reflect what we value. And if we disagree about what we should spend money on, then we disagree about what we value. And what I value is at the core of who I am and no one has the right to tell me what I should or shouldn’t value. Right?

For example, maybe I shop a lot because I value my appearance, because to look good is to feel good. Or maybe I value my independence and freedom and don’t like to feel controlled. Maybe I want to spend as little money as possible because I need to feel secure and if there’s no money in the bank, then I feel insecure. The issue wasn’t money in any of those instances. Instead, it was the symptom of a deeper issue.

If you feel like you’re fighting about money all the time, here are three things that can help:

  • Start with understanding what you value and your attitude toward money. There are tons of resources you can use, but I think Sybil Solomon’s Money Habitudes can really help you gain insight into your own personal habits and attitudes toward money. Check it out, and trust me when I say that your marriage will thank you.
  • Don’t forget to add in a little lightheartedness. Things like this Financial Would You Rather game from Annuity.org can help you get the ball rolling about some important conversations while keeping it fun.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Do ask questions. I’ve learned to ask some simple questions when we discuss money matters in my marriage. When my wife I disagree about a purchase, I may humbly and non-judgmentally ask, “Why is that particular purchase/outing or whatever important to you? Help me understand.” I’ve learned a lot from that question. And it doesn’t mean that we always end up buying it. But now we are communicating and understanding what we value, not just what we want to spend money on.
  • Seek to understand. (Did I mention that being humble really helps?) Perhaps your spouse has already spent money on something you believe was unwise, and you’re really unhappy about it. Before you accuse them and tell them they were irresponsible, inconsiderate or uncaring, check your own attitude first. Take a deep breath and ask why they thought that purchase or expense was so important at the moment. Humility + a non-judgmental attitude = Progress

Being humble and staying out of the judgment zone when it comes to spending can be a major win because the right attitude communicates that we care deeply about our partner, and NOT just about the topic at hand. Plus, moving past the symptom to the deeper issue is a major accomplishment you can both feel good about.

***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear your computer or device is being monitored, call the hotline 24/7 at: 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***